Sunday, April 11, 2010

Acts 6 - Growing Pains

by Becky

LINK: Acts 6

BACKGROUND AND REFLECTION

The number of Jesus' followers was growing! This was wonderful, but with the growth came new problems.

Hellenistic Jews responded to the gospel and joined the congregation in Jerusalem; they spoke Greek rather than the Aramaic of the Jews from Palestine, and this language barrier contributed to difficulties. The Hellenistic widows had been unintentionally overlooked by the Hebrew leaders in distributing food, and the Hellenistic Jews complained. So the twelve apostles realized that something needed to change.

They had been called by Jesus to preach the gospel and they realized that as the number of believers grew, so would the amount of time needed to care for them. So they made a common sense decision. They chose seven godly men to serve the congregation, in order that the twelve could devote themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer.

One of those men was Stephen, a man "full of faith and the Holy Spirit" who was "doing signs and wonders among the people." He became a target of some Jews, who stirred up public opinion against him, so that he was brought before the council where false witnesses gave testimony against him. We will learn more about Stephen in the next chapter.

We see Jesus' words being fulfilled - His followers were being treated in the same way that He was.

APPLICATION

Sometimes it is clear what Jesus has called us to do, but we find ourselves distracted by other good things. Life changes: activities grow, we become busier and busier, yet find we have less and less time to spend on what God has gifted us to do. Sometimes we just drift along with it, wondering why life has to be so complicated. It doesn't! Sometimes we just need to look at what's going on and find a common sense solution, just as the twelve apostles did in this account.

Is there something you're doing, maybe a good thing, that is distracting you from you primary calling from the Lord? Take some time to think through your day and how you spend your time, which is after all not yours but God's gift to you. It's okay to say no to some good activities. Focus on what God has given you to do.

PRAYER

Guide us, Father, we ask. Give us discernment to know what you have gifted us to do, what we should focus on. Keep us from neglecting our main task for other good things. Help us to remember to evaluate our activities from time to time and not drift along getting busier and busier. We are here to serve you. Please show each of us the best way to do that.
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